Kakamega County government has identified a parcel of land in Rostaman to construct a rehabilitation center for residents struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
The County Executive Committee Member for Public Service and Administration Rachel Okumu said the rehab center would serve Kakamega residents and some staff who were currently seeking rehab services from other counties.
She said the county government has already acquired the necessary equipment needed to run the rehab center.
The CEC said the county government was liaising with the Ministry of Health to get some specialists who would manage the rehab center once it becomes operational.
She noted that it would be a relief to many county staff who were struggling with alcoholism and other substance abuse and were now seeking assistance to stop the addiction that is affecting their wellbeing.
“We have our own officers who are not able to carry on with their duties effectively because of the influence of alcohol. It is no longer something to take for granted since it is a threat to society,” she noted.
She noted the problem was grave to the point that some fail to turn up for work while the performance of others has become poor as they are slowly developing depression.
In the health department, 10 staff are undergoing counseling while three Doctors who were in rehab have reformed. In 2021, 350 staff from the health department were sensitized on realization that drug and substance abuse affects mental health impairing their ability to make right judgments.
The CEC was speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting on trafficking, sale and consumption of Illicit Alcohol and Psychotropic drugs in Kakamega County.
She noted the resumption of illegal chang’aa brewing asking the security enforcement officers not to relent on crackdown of the substance where brewers have become notorious as it poses a risk to users.
Kakamega County Commissioner John Ondengo who was present during the meeting welcomed the move by the county government to establish a rehabilitation centre.
He said it was true that many people have gotten into drug and substance abuse and many of them needed to be rehabilitated.
“A rehabilitation center will bring a lot of good to our people. If the county government can do that, it will be a welcome move,” he pointed out.
The County Commissioner ordered security officers to continue with the crackdown of illicit brews and drugs across the county.
NACADA says that despite the fact that alcohol is not mentioned as a threat as compared to other social drugs, the majority of Kenyans were struggling with its addiction.
The Public Education and Advocacy officer for NACADA Western Region George Kasera noted that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that up to 275million people globally between the ages 15-64 used an illicit substance at least once in 2021.
According to the Survey, of those who used psychoactive substances, 10-14 per cent will suffer related substance use disorders.
He mentioned substance use disorders such as mental health, drug addiction and other health related complications such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic diseases, and diabetes among others.
In 2016, Kasera said, 3.3million global deaths resulted from consumption of illicit alcohol.
“Current statistics indicate that Alcohol and Drug Abuse is a major problem in Kenya. NACADA will also release the latest survey soon on the current state of drugs and substance abuse and the efforts made to control them,” he pointed out.
According to a National Survey on Alcohol and Drug Abuse carried out by NACADA in 2017, 12.2 per cent of Kenyans are active users of alcohol.
The Survey also showed that 18.2 per cent of Kenyans have either tested or consumed a psychoactive substance.
Nairobi and the Eastern Region lead in the rate of consumption of alcohol with Western Kenya standing at 13.4 per cent of alcohol usage according to NACADA.
The Meeting which was organized by the Directorate of Alcoholic Drinks Control Kakamega County, brought together a multi-agency team from the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), The Counties Security Committee and traders’ representatives.
The county commissioner called for a multi-agency full co-operation in controlling the abuse of drugs in the county as he promised maximum support.
He said the laws to be used by the county government should be in harmony with the National Governments laws, if not the National Government laws take supremacy and they would be enforced fully.
By Moses Wekesa